Dayton vetoes limits on education policymaking

/ 20 April 2012 / jennifer

Jennifer Brooks, Star Tribune, April 20, 2012 –

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill Friday that he said would strip the Commissioner of Education of the ability to enforce policy on school districts.

The legislation would have banned the Minnesota Department of Education from enforcing a “policy, guideline, bulletin, criterion, manual standard or similar pronouncement to school districts” that has not officially been adopted as a rule by the department.

In his veto, Dayton wrote that the bill “interferes with one of the primary functions of the Minnesota Department of Education…ensuring that both state and federal laws and rules are followed.” The legislation would have stripped enforcement powers that had been expressly granted to the executive branch agency, Dayton wrote.

During Senate debate on the bill, its sponsor, Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, says the Department of Education sometimes goes from interpreting the law “to making the law” in its dealings with school districts. Thompson said he was “disappointed” by the governor’s veto.

“The one thing I would hope we could all agree on is that government should not go beyond his proper scope,” he said Friday evening. “The governor’s using the veto pen an awful lot lately. He keeps talking about this being a do-nothing legislature, but it seems like he’s becoming a do-nothing governor.”